Recent and forthcoming elections in key Latin American countries come at a time when US relations with many states in the region are particularly uncertain. Discusses six areas which should be addressed by policy-makers (1) the debt crisis (2) the need for co-operation between the USA, Europe, Canada and Latin American countries in ending Central America's wars (3) support of democratic institutions (4) the drug problem (5) the need to rebuild inter-American institutions (6) relations with Mexico and Panama. Concludes that too much attention has been devoted to Nicaragua at the expense of greater concerns, although straightforward solutions are unlikely. Former US ambassador to the Organization of American States, and co-negotiator of the Panama Canal treaties. A substantial criticism of Reagan's policy in Central and South America, and interesting for its view of both regions as one.